<
>

Melo has plenty of help in Knicks' win over Miami

play
Knicks surpass last year's win total (1:06)

Carmelo Anthony scores an efficient 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting and the Knicks defeat the Heat 98-90 for their 18th win of the season. (1:06)

Carmelo Anthony continued to share the ball, play within the offense and defend well Wednesday night. And his play was a key factor in the Knicks' surprising 98-90 road win over Miami.

But there were other, equally important elements to the Knicks' 18th win of the season.

Let's take a look:

Robin Lopez: Here's one number to illustrate Lopez's impact against Miami: The Knicks' net rating in his 34 minutes was +31, per NBA.com.

Lopez finished with a season-high 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting. He pulled down only four rebounds but his presence helped the Knicks compete with Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside and the rest of the Heat on the boards (New York was outrebounded, 35-34).

The Knicks also held Miami to 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc. This should be attributed, in part, to the paint presence of Lopez and Kristaps Porzingis, allowing New York to push its defense out to the perimeter.

Derrick Williams: Williams was one of the few sources of energy off the Knicks' bench Wednesday, the second game of a road back-to-back. The reserve forward scored 13 points and grabbed an incredible 42 percent of the defensive rebounds available to him, according to NBA.com. That percentage was a game high by a wide margin. Only Whiteside (33 percent) was close. Williams finished with eight rebounds.

Derek Fisher: The Knicks coach stuck -- for the most part -- with his nine-man rotation. The shortened rotation has been a key element during a three-game winning streak.

Fisher's new wrinkle is to use Porzingis as the center with the second unit instead of Kyle O'Quinn or Kevin Seraphin.

On Wednesday, Porzingis went to the bench for a few minutes because of foul trouble and was replaced by O'Quinn. But, by and large, Fisher stuck with the shortened rotation.

Earlier in the season, the second-year coach was playing 12-13 players and changed his rotations almost nightly.

The Knicks seem to have responded well to the consistent and tightened rotation with wins over Atlanta (twice) and Miami.

But Anthony, of course, deserves the lion's share of credit for the Knicks' recent success. On Wednesday, he scored 25 points on 12 shots and handed out a team-high four assists. He continued to show trust in his teammates and a willingness to get them involved, as detailed here.

The question for Anthony and the Knicks is, how long can all of this last?

New York, which plays San Antonio on Friday, has been wildly inconsistent so far this season. The Knicks have had four separate losing streaks of at least three games and three separate winning streaks of at least three games.

So surpassing last season's win total Wednesday was a nice accomplishment, but finding consistency on both ends of the floor is one of the next hurdles for New York.

Ratings up: The Knicks' increased win total has led to higher viewership. Ratings on MSG Network through 34 games this season are up 15% from the first 34 games of the 2014-15 season, MSG Network said.